Acapulco, a popular tourist destination in Mexico, was battered by Hurricane Otis, a Category 5 storm that made landfall on Monday, October 23, 2023. The hurricane brought strong winds, heavy rain, and storm surges that caused widespread damage and flooding in the city and the surrounding areas.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Otis had maximum sustained winds of 260 km/h (160 mph) when it reached the coast near Acapulco, making it the strongest hurricane to hit Mexico since Patricia in 2015. The NHC warned of a “life-threatening situation” and urged people to seek shelter in a safe place.
The hurricane knocked down trees, power lines, and roofs, leaving thousands of people without electricity and water. Many roads and bridges were blocked or washed away by the floodwaters, hampering the rescue and relief efforts. Some hotels and resorts were also damaged by the storm, affecting the tourism industry that is vital for Acapulco’s economy.
The governor of Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, said that at least 10 people were killed and dozens were injured by the hurricane. He also declared a state of emergency and asked for federal assistance to cope with the disaster. The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, expressed his solidarity with the affected people and said that he would visit Acapulco as soon as possible.
Hurricane Otis weakened as it moved inland over southern Mexico, but it still posed a threat of heavy rain and flash floods in several states. The NHC said that the hurricane could dump up to 50 cm (20 inches) of rain in some areas, which could trigger landslides and mudslides. The NHC also warned of possible tornadoes in parts of southeastern Mexico.
Hurricane Otis was the 15th named storm and the eighth hurricane of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which has been very active and above average. The NHC said that there was a high chance of more storms forming in the coming weeks, as the season lasts until November 30.